Rytis Mažulis

Rytis Mažulis is one of the most distinctive Lithuanian composers, representing super-minimalist trend in Lithuanian music, taking into account always the same repetitive principles, supplemented with new ideas close to various avant-garde techniques. Having felt the strong influence of Conlon Nancarrow's and Giacinto Scelsi's concepts, he writes radical monistic compositions, based only on a canon technique, and frequently using computers. Though there are relics of Renaissance polyphony in his music, in its compressed sound it is sometimes more akin to rock; in its hyper-dissonance and microintervals – to Scelsi's contemplations; and with regard to its form – to gigantic op art compositions, exhibiting very slowly and consecutively alternating constellations. Mažulis' music bears a fairly distinctive mark of laboratory work, though it does maintain a balance of academic correctness.

Šarūnas Nakas

 

 

Biography

Rytis Mažulis (b.1961) graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music (1983), the class of composition under Julius Juzeliūnas. In 1988 he was honoured with the prize "Tyla" (Silence) for the chamber composition "The Sleep", in 1989 - the prize of the Lithuanian Culture Fund for chamber and vocal music. The composer received the scholarship of the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, for the period from September 1998 to April 1999. Rytis Mažulis was twice awarded the prize for the best vocal composition ("ajapajapam", 2002; "Form Is Emptiness", 2006) at the competition organized by the Lithuanian Composers' Union. In 2004 he was awarded the Lithuanian National Prize. In 2006-14 Rytis Mažulis was Head of the Composition Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Works by Mažulis are constantly performed at various festivals: Nyyd (Tallinn, 1991), Musikhøst (Odense, 1992), Deutschlandfunk (Cologne, 1992), Prague Spring (1995), Norrtelje Chamber Music Festival (1995), De Suite Muziekweek (Amsterdam, 1995), Minimalisms (Berlin, 1998), Klang Raum (Stuttgart, 1998), 53. Arbeitstagung von Institut für neue Musik und Musikerziehung (Darmstadt, 1999), MaerzMusik (Berlin, 2003), Melos-Ethos (Bratislava, 2005), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2006, 2007), Images Sonores (Liege, 2007), ISCM World Music Days (Vilnius, 2008), as well as at concerts in Warsaw, Gdansk, Düsseldorf, Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (1994, 1999), Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (1995).

Rytis Mažulis' works are marked by a particular stylistic purity, the integrity and symmetry of a musical texture based on a counterpoint (mostly canon) technique as well as by concentric forms. Such directions of his oeuvre naturally demand appropriate instrumentation to achieve homogeneous and "crystal-clear" sound. Rytis Mažulis, therefore, writes music mostly for ensembles of equal voices or keyboard instruments; such pieces are performed live or are realized with computer, treating it as a kind of "super-piano". In some of his works the composer uses specific possibilities of computer, which are inaccessible when performing the music with conventional instruments.

For example, in the composition "Palindrome" one can hear micro-chromatic gradations of pitch (quarter-tones and thinner) and non-standard divisions of rhythmic values, or a simultaneous pulsation of different tempos. And his "Clavier of Pure Reason" cannot be performed live as well, due to the fact that only at least a 24-piano ensemble would be able to perform this. These opuses not only reflect the tendencies of stylistical purity and compositional integrity, but also show that it is possible to express a subtle humour in pure musical forms, without any allusions to other arts and reality.